The Most Creative First Birthday Party Ideas

Put together a fun and creative celebration the whole family will love with a few of these first birthday party ideas for themes, decor and more.

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While every birthday is a special occasion, there’s something extra-exciting about throwing a first birthday party. It could be the cute decorations, tiny presents or eating cake, but it’s probably just the adorable baby!

If you’re putting together a baby’s birthday party for the first time, it can be a bit stressful. Arranging invitations, planning the menu and wrangling a baby that’s becoming mobile is a lot. So, to make things a bit easier we’ve asked Taste of Home set stylists, bloggers and event planners for some fun first birthday party ideas to give you a head start on your celebration.

Psst: Learn how to make the best birthday cake for the occasion.

Tips for Throwing a First Birthday Party

Before you start planning a first birthday party, there are a few things to consider.

Choosing a Party Theme

When deciding what theme to go with, first decide if it’s going to be for the children or the adults. For the former, you can go with the baby’s favorite book, nursery rhyme or television show, filling the space with familiar characters and bright colors.

For the latter, you can be more creative with the exact theme and color palette. Some fun options include party animals with a variety of barn or zoo animals with pastel colors, honey bee filled with gold and natural brown decorations or popping baby bottles with champagne and bottles of milk for youngsters. Peek these adorable DIY birthday decorations for some more ideas (or learn how to plan a princess party for your little royal)!

Keeping Kids Entertained

If there are going to be a lot of young children at the party, make sure you have something for them to do. If you’re hosting your party outdoors, the fun can be a few basic toys like hula hoops, chalk or outdoor lawn games.

For indoor parties, your space will likely be more limited, so grab a couple coloring books, toys or plan some classic games like hide-and-seek or duck, duck, goose.

Remember Young Palates

While canapes and a specialty cocktail are wonderful for a dinner party, they’re not the most kid-friendly choices. Stack your snack table with finger foods that are safe for kids and toddlers, not to mention a one-year-old. If you need some guidance, take a peek at our food ideas for one-year-olds.

First Birthday Party Ideas

Monsters, Inc. Birthday

Monsters Inc. first birthday party ideasTaste of Home/Tricia Pros/Dish Bakery, styled/photographed by Brittany Lynn Studios/ForeverFlowersbyMK/Etsy

No first birthday celebration is complete without a smash cake dedicated to the birthday boy or girl. This cake by Tricia of Dish Bakery captures the fluffy likeness of Sully with two-toned frosting that’s perfect for a little to dig their hands into. Fill out the party with a character-inspired banner, scream canister cut-outs and some adorable customized straws. Our Taste of Home set stylists put these straw decorations together by cutting out oval-shaped pictures, punching a hole at the top and bottom of the picture and sliding them through a patterned paper straw. Throw together some monster munchies and your party is all set.

Barnyard Birthday

barnyard first birthday party ideasCourtesy

For this adorable barnyard themed birthday party, Abby Copleston of Little Miss Party softened an industrial event space with farmhouse florals and oversized balloons to create a petting zoo party that didn’t have to worry about the weather.

Additional decorations included plaid tablecloths, a large barn door backdrop for the snack table and themed cups, plates and water bottle labels. Our favorite part might have to be the cow and puppy layer cakes, though!

Little Miss Party makes it easy to recreate this birthday party theme with their farm party in a box. It comes with shaped helium balloons, party blowers, a craft, plates and napkins all in one convenient box.

Some Bunny Is One Birthday

Some Bunny is One first birthday party ideasDiana Miranda/Dreamery Events

Speaking of animals, this some ‘bunny’ is one birthday party from Diana Miranda of Dreamery Events will hop right to the top of your list. Not only would this be the perfect way to repurpose Easter decorations (hello, bunny figurines and carrot cutouts!) but the soft pastel color pallet is a great option for a spring or summer celebration. We particularly love the bunny ears and coloring pages for kids and photobooth set up for families to snap a casual portrait.

Recreate Diana’s food spread by busting out the jelly beans, dipping strawberries in orange candy coating to look like carrots and throwing together this simple carrot garden ice cream dessert recipe.

Sesame Street Party

Sesame Street first birthday ideaDanisa Betances/ ADAL Kreation

Invite your kiddo’s go-to puppet gang over for a colorful Sesame Street birthday party. This cheery party was put together by Danisa Betances of ADAL Kreation and features a rainbow of balloons, mini activity clipboards for coloring on the go and a clever “tipsy street” bar sign for adults.

Take a page out of Danisa’s book and pull out your child’s Elmo and Big Bird toys to use as decoration around a photo booth or around tables and make your own character cutouts for a photo booth or purchase a few ready-made characters from Etsy. Don’t forget to make a batch or two of these Cookie Monster-worthy chocolate chip cookies for your dessert table!

Alice In One-derland Party

Alice in Wonderland first birthday party ideasDinah Wulf & Jennifer Hostetler/ DIY Inspired

Go down the rabbit hole your birthday party to a whole new world with an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party. Dinah Wulf, the blogger behind DIY Inspired, shared her friend Jennifer Hostetler’s, fun semi-homemade Alice in Wonderland party. The bash was decorated with multicolored, mismatched place settings, centerpieces made from repurposed pretzel containers and playroom tea sets. You can easily pull off an “eat me” sign for your snack table by painting a wooden picture frame, adding a sheet of funky scrapbook paper and writing or using sticker letters for the text. In no time you’ll be singing “A Very Merry Unbirthday” around a White Rabbit cake and a few pots of tea.

Panda-monium Party

Panda first birthday party ideasPriscilla Choi/Priscilla Choi Fine Photography + Design

If you want a more subtle theme, this panda first birthday photographed by Austin-based Priscilla Choi is just the ticket. Among blue and white hydrangeas, custom banner and patterned noisemakers and party hats are the cutest panda accents. You can pick up the panda candles, balloons and paper goods on Etsy, or try to fashion them yourself. Either way, this first birthday party idea is one of the cuddliest around.

Peaches and Cream Party

Peaches first birthday party ideaKara/Kara's Party Ideas

For a cute and rustic party, look no further than this Peaches and Cream party by Kara Allen of Kara’s Party Ideas. While we love ways peaches are incorporated in this party, including peach balloons decorating straws and in a garland, peach-shaped cookies and tons of fresh peaches, we’re especially smitten with the rustic look of Kara’s welcome sign (drawn by @letsletterthis) and photo display. To make this photo display, Kara upcycled an old ladder with twine, fresh flowers and clothespins to hang photos of her birthday girl from throughout her first year.

Now that you’re brimming with first birthday party ideas, it’s time to think about the menu. Start off with any of these crowd-favorite recipes.

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Caroline Stanko
Caroline has been with Taste of Home for the past seven years, working in both print and digital. After starting as an intern for the magazine and special interest publication teams, Caroline was hired as the third-ever digital editor for Taste of Home. Since then, she has researched, written and edited content on just about every topic the site covers, including cooking techniques, buzzy food news, gift guides and many, many recipe collections. Caroline also acts as the editorial lead for video, working with the Test Kitchen, videographers and social media team to produce videos from start to finish. When she’s not tip-tapping on a keyboard, Caroline is probably mixing up a killer cocktail, reading a dog-eared library book or cooking up a multi-course feast (sometimes all at once). Though she technically lives in Milwaukee, there is a 50/50 chance Caroline is in Chicago or southwest Michigan visiting her close-knit family.